The Vamps

Live Review: The Vamps Up Close & Personal in London

With their new album Night & Day (Night Edition) released tomorrow (14th July) The Vamps have embarked on their up close and personal tour playing the album in full (with some surprises) in intimate venues across the UK. Closing the tour was a show at Shepherds Bush Empire and we managed to make a day trip to London to hear the new tracks performed live for the first time in London.

Supporting the guys on this run is Irish trio Taken who tried and succeeded to warm the crowd up. Performing a mixture of original and cover material the crowd were jumping along and in some cases singing along to their catchy tracks but there was really just one reason everyone was so excited for tonight…. The Vamps.

Introduced to the stage by their manager Joe O’Neill he made one of his infamous speeches to set the scene. The Vamps have even before this album broken their own records with All Night getting 3 MILLION streams and Night & Day getting the most pre-orders on any of their albums to date. This is received with a lot of excitement but Joe mentions the most impressive thing that all of it is due to The Vamps incredible fanbase some of which are squeezed into this intimate London venue tonight.

There’s extra prominence about tonight’s show with the band playing their first London headline show here back in 2014 and it being the city in which their busking days started which ultimately shaped their career into what it is today. This was going to be something special. Arriving to deafening cheers The Vamps walk casually onto the stage before throwing themselves right into an acoustic version of latest single ‘Hands’, despite this being an acoustic show the party was already being brought from the very start. As soon as single ‘Middle Of The Night’ kicked in fans got to their feet to dance along to this well-loved track, the new take on this fan favourite features a snazzy little wooing part during the chorus making this even more of a singalong. Here we realise just how great of an idea this tour was as each track gains a new vibe and dynamic when performed in an electro-acoustic style and you know what we really love it.

However, the most anticipated part of the sets was the unheard (except for Instagram snippets) tracks making up their new album. One of these which has been teased recently is ‘My Place’ which therefore has a sense of familiarity within the fanbase. Produced by Brad, Tristan and Connor, the track singing of well wanting to go back to that special person’s house to stop the night from ending. The sincere chorus, when sung in Brad’s serenading tones, makes everyone reminisce about that special time they’ve felt this way as the crowd swaying takes full hold. With a name like ‘Sad Song,’ we’re expecting the mood of the show to turn into an emotional one, maybe a few tears for good measure and to hear a slow sad song yet as James McVey explains it’s not a sad song it’s an upbeat dance vibe song instead. We’re also given a dose of crowd interaction splitting everyone into two to team up for a ‘hold on baby//you know you drive me crazy’ singalong session putting smiles on everyone’s faces. The Vamps have never been a band to stick to the norm and stay in their comfort zone which is partially why their live shows are such an exciting affair. Proclaiming that it’s ‘time to get our balls out’ (bouncy beach balls before you think dirty!) and that it’s one for the sexy senoritas with a Spanish party vibe came with ‘It’s A Lie’, after one run of the chorus the crowd have picked up ‘I know it’s a la la la lie’ much to the quartet’s delight. We’re certain this will be a fan favourite as two days on it’s still ringing in our head.

On their recent arena tour, The Vamps performed ‘Paper Hearts’, a then unheard song which across the tour duration became a highlight of the setlist and tonight was no different. This heartfelt number brings, even more, emotion when acoustic singing of wanting that special person to just take your heart and look after it as you keep going back to them time and time again, we’ve all been there let’s be honest. Throwing it back to the 2016 tour came with Brad’s centre stage moment when performing ‘Stay’, the track has evolved with improved lyrics yet one thing which hasn’t changed is the sheer beauty of Brad’s voice and just a guitar to accompany it. After their relentless touring schedule, the quartet are at the top of their game musically and personally, showing off their new skills on different instruments – Connor had a lovely double bass called Shelia, harmonising to a tee and managing to share spicy chicken and sushi with the crowd mid-show. Now that’s what you call a talent!

Every show has a highlight and every album has a stand out track. If tonight is anything to go by ‘Same To You’ will be that song. From the very first moment, we heard this live in Birmingham the spark which it lit glowed immensely and the confidence of the quartet when performing this track and the adoring eyes in the crowd confirmed how special it is. James took the chance prior to this track to make his heartwarming speech, explaining how much has changed since their performance on the same stage in 2014 which wouldn’t have happened without fans support. It’s been 18 months since The Vamps last album was released and James addressed this as due to taking the time to perfect their tracks. Created in Sweden and hailed as one of their most honest songs ever written, ‘Same To You’ shows how much they’ve grown in these last 18 months. Slowing down the tone yet with one of the catchiest drum and guitar lines of the night, the quartet comes together to flaunt off how well they work as a team. From Tristan’s power infused drumlines holding the track together to the harmonious vocals of Brad, James and Connor to the matching smiles and proud looks shared when the crowd respond with nothing but love and a whole lot of cheers.

Many of the audience went to the quartet’s arena tour not too long ago and since then sassy ‘Shades On’ has become a party favourite where everyone gets their shades out even if outside it is pouring with rain. Electroacoustic means there’s a jazzed up start to this loved track and the party vibe reaches new highs in the packed out Shepherds Bush Empire. Anyone would think we were actually in Barbados at a beach party with the atmosphere created as Brad Simpson worked the crowd into a frenzy effortlessly. Changing it up and bringing another of the night’s surprises was throwing a snippet of ‘Golden’ taken from their debut album ‘Meet The Vamps’ which the fans rarely get the chance to hear live, before throwing themselves into the much loved ‘Wild Heart’ taken from the same album. These three tracks shouldn’t work that well but oh boy they do and the cheers of excitement prove that the crowd think the same too. Having performed a cover of Niall’s ‘Slow Hands’ earlier in the set, they’ve never ones to shy away from a challenge, as a microphone heads along the front row asking for artists for them to cover over the melody of Shades On. Tonight’s artists included 5SOS resulting in a funky ‘She Looks So Perfect’ cover, a not so successful attempt at ‘All About You’ by McFly to which they realised they couldn’t do justice and the crowd taking over to sing Ariana Grande’s ‘One Last Time’ to which the emotion running through that room sent a shiver down the spine.

With just one track missing from the set, Brad took the time to graciously thank the crowd profusely for their support throughout the last three years alongside telling us how proud and excited for the album. We can’t lie we’re extremely excited for the album and seeing the genuine pride and love on the quartet’s faces and in their voices as they’ve been performing tonight has led us to have high hopes for their future. Closing with ‘All Night’, the first single taken from the new album, every last bit of energy in the room was used as people sung, cheered and danced along to close tonight on a resounding high.

Having played the O2 Arena in May playing a venue of Shepherds Bush size just two months after is a bold move. Yet a move which has paid off, allowing fans to get up close and personal whilst hearing song of their soon to be new favourite tracks acoustically it’s a night to remember. The Vamps prove it’s not all about the fancy sound effects, big staging or pyro/confetti but in fact, it’s about the talent, the ability to perform acoustically without a single fault whilst performing with complete confidence. Night & Day is already looking set to be the quartet’s biggest album to date and this run of shows was definitely the perfect way to start the album cycle.

Night & Day (Night Edition) is released tomorrow, be sure to check it out on iTunes, Spotify or via The Vamps official website and get in touch over on Twitter to let us know what your favourite tracks are!


Written by Nicola Craig

Lover of all things pop, a boyband or two, and discovering new artists to get hooked on. You'll usually find me at a gig, truly living my best life without a care in the world.